Friday, December 16, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
To GATHER, is defined as the following:
to form a group,
to harvest something
to collect data,
to find inner strength,
to surmise and
to lift something up
Folks gather. We create a little circle of energy around babies, birthday cakes and hospital beds. We disperse common thoughts of congratulation, prayers and advice. While these moments may be short, each participant having projected these collective thoughts and pooled them in the center of this group, takes a bit of that mixed up energy away with them. These tiny moments of communal thought can shift the course of my day, sometimes just adding a smile to my lips or keeping me from honking at an obnoxious driver.
When artists gather together, especially on a regular basis, we pool powerful creative energy. When I first was given the opportunity to join a fine art and an illustration group that met once a month, I worried that I wouldn’t have much to contribute. I felt guilty that I wasn’t in my studio working. I didn’t realize that the act of coming together as a group would make me more productive than spending that time in my studio alone. Over the last year the impact these gathering have had on my work, and me, has been enormous.
We gather. We give. We get. We gather again. We give more. We get more.
This is the spiraling effect of proximity and participation with my creative community. I put myself out and I get back, inspiration, applause, empathy or suggestions to ponder. I bring home much more than I came with.
Friday, December 2, 2011
One year ago. I felt that my artwork sucked. Really, it just wasn’t very good. Others kindly would have argued with me, but I knew. I didn’t feel like I was making anything for me. I’m not sure who I was creating art for, since I wasn’t selling much. I was left with art that no one else was clamouring for and I found no delight in. It’s no surprise I was in a funk.
I knew I needed to change it all.
So, I took a baby step. I pulled out my old copy of The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. I had never completed all the excercises in the book, but I felt really strongly about the “daily pages.” Writing everyday, about my work, about anything has always been helpful. So, I started. I didn’t expect miracles. I just believed I could find my inspiration, my new direction, my true direction by quietly “puking on paper” every day. I felt like a hoarder who grabbed a shovel and had finally decided to hire a dumpster or two. I would be brave. I was going to junk the junk and find the treasures. It was going to take awhile. But I knew I couldn’t expect to come up with a fresh approach with a head full of old, outdated crumpled up, not worth saving, really foul smelling garbage hogging the space.
As the days went by, I faithfully excavated through old ideas and bad rules I had set up for myself. I tumbled towers of “I want my art to look like this or that.” I swept the floor of dust ball demons that had swirled in my head since childhood. I was really feeling good.
Writing the morning pages were like slowly tossing out a pile of crap each day. Once I began the process I stopped adding to the clutter. Immediately ridding my brain of “junk thoughts” and cleared some more. Fresh air was circulating.
Where before I had been traversing a narrow path, back and forth to my studio, now I could see the horizon. And no longer muffled by walls of refuse, I could hear the tiny tune of my muse singing to me. Every day it grew clearer. I felt that I was hearing the song of my soul. The original song I was given, that began when I began and won’t end until I do. She’s been singing all this time and I finally listened. I began to hear the lyrics to my song and I wrote them down.